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Piano Music Theory and History

Igor Stravinsky piano musical compositions were comprehensive in composition that kept to the traditional compositional styles. On the other hand, his compositions were characterized by several techniques in a single production. He made use of repeated figures to drive the music forward and create unity besides an overall familiar texture to the whole composition. Besides, his music had great rhythmic interest characterized by polyrhythm and syncopation.  Moreover, Stravinsky made use of uncommon time signatures that created a wakening effect to the downbeat (Dimond, 2009) Stravinsky’s piano compositions further had complex textures and prominent triton scale intervals that prevailed in harmony and melody. He further made use of slow oscillations in between opposing sounds and further incorporated dissimilar speeds of tremolo between clarinets and horns.

Paul Hindemith compositions were mainly characterized chromatic modality whereby the composition foundation line had a fixed pitch hierarchy hat was organized in accordance to the distance from the home tone and variation in weakness and strength of tonal relationship. Hindemith made use of both harmonic and linear tones between pitches. Besides, the chord root strength was dependant on the various tones incorporated in the composition.  As a result, the chords in his musical composition were structured from any interval (Hass, 2000). Hindemith classified the chordal types and intervals he incorporated in his compositions on special tables in accordance to the harmonic dependence and its relation to the rest of the tones.  As a result, Hindemith’s compositions were established on a harmonic fall and rise depending on the chordal dissonance or consonance of the composition.  

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What compositional and pianistic elements in Scriabin’s piano music underwent change from 19th century into 20th century style?

Alexander Scriabin is considered as one of the greatest musicians in the Russian history. Since the 1920’s, Scriabin’s music has undergone tremendous revolution. However from 1910 to 1925, Scriabin was a pianist and a composer who fancied idolatry and copious adulations. As a result, his music was no longer fancied although it was full of great visionary multimedia experiments and harmonic exploits (TYT musica 2009). During the early twentieth century, Scriabin’s music gained popularity due the Silver Age of Russian Culture that saw the rise of the symbolist movement based on philosophical and religious principles. Scriabin’s music gradually evolved and was characterized by apocalyptic thrusts and mystics overtones. Scriabin’s compositions were full of bold innovations as evident in his composition “Poem of Ecstasy,” which marked the beginning of his musical changes.

From 1910, Scriabin’s piano performance was characterized of rapid accurate notes, dramatic shifts in tempo, articulations and complex rhythms. His piano compositions were Scriabin reinterpreted the tonal expansion of the earlier composers. 1910 marked a division between the rising and the old nationalist school; as a result, his works were never influenced by the folklores. Scriabin’s works were mainly written for piano and he is acknowledged to have highly influenced the piano works of Liszt and Chopin though his evolved composition styles illustrated through his piano Sonatas ( TYT musica, 2009).Scriabin’s earlier works had a chromatic harmony that was not daring although he made use ostinatos. From 1903, Scriabin’s piano composition style evolved as he developed a harmonic composition language and construction methods. Scriabin’s later compositions were inspired by art, philosophy and religion to develop a new musical gospel that overshadowed the old gospel.

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What are the main musical and pianistic elements in Debussy’s piano music? (Note: “Impressionism” is not an element). Describe some innovations in his piano music. *

Claude Debussy’s musical and piano compositions were particular on the sound quality produced. Besides, his music was characterized by harmonic vocabulary and stylistic unity. The musical harmonic language was as a result of combining modal and functional tone among other musical composition elements. Debussy’s piano and musical compositions were in depended as they incorporated the use of kinds of scales in a single composition. Debussy’s musical compositions were highly enriched with the tonality concept. Debussy’s piano preludes were inspired by impressionist art thus the numerous parallels between the music. The composition was characterized by layered textures and fast moving notes. The preludes were mainly in ABA Forms where the middle section had a slower melody. The “Sarabande” is characterized by modal flavor and numerous chords moving in parallel (Roberts, 1996).

Debussy’s composition style was influential to the 20th Century music as it did not submit to the conventional musical theory styles. Debussy’s musical compositions were impressionable as his music sounded improvisatory as if it was never written down.  Moreover, his compositions such as the 24 piano preludes were miniatures. Besides, his music had fancy titles and is believed to be the best piano music after Chopin’s. According to Paul Roberts, Debussy changed the course of music history though his famous works such as “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”, the tone poem and the extended symphonic works besides the innovative piano compositions (Roberts, 1996). Debussy’s piano compositions assimilated the folklore music styles in relation to the pitch, form defined by the tonal system and progression (Classical net, 2011). As a result, his compositions were full of tough classical architectures whereby he incorporated strong dance to augment tension and rhythm to his works.

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Debussy innovated the blurred shifting sonority performance style that was mainly achievable through the use of the damper bell. Moreover, he invented the free composition style whereby he untied the basic elements of composition such as rhythm, phrase and harmony.  Debussy further moved away from the traditional harmonic styles by experimenting with the octatonic and whole note scales whereby his compositions were characterized by whatever chord suited his taste.  Debussy invented the free compositions that moved away from the traditional phrasal compositions characterized by phrases tied on collection of two or more bars with set beats (Classical net, 2011). Besides, Debussy invented a new form of orchestral texture and harmony.

Debussy’s collections combined sensuality and modernism to result in appealing compositions. As a result, he was credited as the innovator of the “leading exponent of musical Impressionism” (Classical archives, 2008), due to his implementation of the tonal structures and non traditional scales. 

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